Mastodon’s Bill Kelliher Switches To ESP

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Whoa, didn’t see this one coming. Mastodon guitarist Bill Kelliher’s Gibson signature models have been some of the coolest guitars Gibson has released in years, but now Bill has switched to ESP with two new sigs, the ESP Bill Kelliher and the LTD BK-600. ESP writes; “We’re proud to announce that Bill Kelliher of world-renowned American metal band Mastodon has joined our family of endorsed artists. But equally big news is that we’re also announcing the introduction of two new Signature Series models: the ESP Bill Kelliher and the LTD BK-600. Visitors to our booth at the Summer NAMM Show in Nashville later this month will be able to check out Bill’s new signature guitars in person. They will be available at ESP dealers later this year.” Read More …

INTERVIEW: Ben Weinman of Dillinger Escape Plan

one-of-us-is-the-killerThe Revolver magazine Golden Gods awards are always a huge highlight on the metal calendar. It’s a chance for the heavy music community to get together over a few drinks – okay, a lot of drinks – remember a few fallen comrades (this year’s event took place just hours after the announcement of the death of Slayer guitarist Jeff Hannemann) and to just generally celebrate heaviness in the same way that the mainstream music celebrates itself at the Grammys, or the film industry celebrates itself at the Oscars, or the theatre scene does with the Tonys. Of course, with the exception of the Bret Michaels incident a few years ago, the typical Tonys telecast doesn’t involve screaming, or bleeding copiously from the head – which is what happened when Dillinger Escape Plan took the stage at this year’s Golden Gods, with the added bonus of fire. Lots of it. “Aaha. There was certainly a lot of confused faces in the crowd,” laughs guitarist Ben Weinman. “I think that’s why they asked us to do the job.” Read More …

LTD Bela Lugosi’s Tales From The Grave guitar

ESP Guitars will release a Limited Edition Bela Lugosi’s Tales from the Grave LTD Guitar in November. It’ll be signed by both Bela Lugosi, Jr. and the artwork designer Kerry Gammill, publisher of Monsterverse Entertainment.
LTD will only make 325 of these made, complete with a limited edition coffin case. Get in quick or Kirk Hammett will buy them all. Might I suggest you preorder from the fine folks at bMusic?
PRESS RELEASE

BELA LUGOSI’S TALES FROM THE GRAVE ELECTRIC GUITAR & COFFIN CASE!

(LOS ANGELES) ESP Guitars is coming out with a limited edition LTD Dracula Bela Lugosi Dracula Guitar. There will be only 325 of these made Worldwide. They come with a limited edition killer coffin case as well.

This guitar will be featured at Comic-Con International 2012 (SDCC 2012) in San Diego this July and will be heavily publicized by ESP in Premier Guitar Magazine in the October issue.

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REVIEW: Seymour Duncan Gus G. FIRE Blackouts

There are plenty of benefits to be gained from using active pickups, not the least of which are low noise and high signal integrity over long cable runs. But not everyone loves the sound of typical actives. EMGs are well known for their killer metal tone – they’ve driven the tones of players like Metallica’s Kirk Hammett and James Hetfield, Zakk Wylde and Devin Townsend to name just a few – and their single coils were long used by Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour. Seymour Duncan seems to be especially good at spotting holes in the market, and there was a pretty glaring one in the active sector: players who want the benefits of active pickups but would prefer a more organic tone. The Blackouts series of pickups do a great job of this, but the Blackouts Modular Preamp is another very clever approach to the issue.

Available separately and in the Blackouts Coil Pack and Gus G FIRE Blackouts System signature set (which is featured in some of Gus’s signature ESP and LTD guitar models), the BMP-1s replaces your existing volume pot, throws in a 9v battery, and allows you to get a high gain active guitar sound from any passive four-conductor pickup. In Gus’s case, the BMP-1s is combined with a matched pair of low-out Alnico 5-loaded passive humbuckers. Gus explains: “This system combines the massive tone, kick, and distortion of Blackouts with the rich tone and expressive feel of my favorite passive pickups. It responds perfectly to all my picking techniques, and more of my personality comes through than with any active pickup I’ve tried.” Naturally Gus needs plenty of sonic versatility within the rock/metal realm, since he does double time in Firewind and as Ozzy Osbourne’s guitarist.

CLICK HERE to buy the Seymour Duncan Gus G Signature Humbucker Pickup Set from Guitar Center.

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INTERVIEW: Buz McGrath on his new LTD Buz-7 signature model

Massachusetts modern metal monsters Unearth are currently here in Australia for the Soundwave festival, and guitarist Buz McGrath is rocking a pretty unique guitar for the shows. Buz was a longtime Ibanez endorser with some of the coolest Ibanez LA Custom Shop guitars in the biz, but although he still has a soft spot in his heart for that company, he recently decided it was time for a change. That led him and his unique custom ideas to find a new home with ESP, who recently introduced the LTD Buz-7 (click here to preorder it from Bmusic). Black bound maple fretboard, Snow White Sunburst finish, reverse headstock, neck-through-body construction, maple neck, alder body, 25.5″ scale, extra thin flat neck contour, 24 extra jumbo frets, EMG 707 active pickups, Grover tuners, Floyd Rose 1000 series bridge… it’s one of the sexiest 7-strings ESP or LTD has ever produced. I managed to grab some time with Buz to ask him what the deal was.

 

You were an Ibanez guy for a million years. What happened?

 

It was about a year ago that I felt like I couldn’t really do much with them. They were very good to me the whole time I was there. They made me some amazing custom guitars. Mike Taft, he was awesome. he would give me whatever I asked for. But I just felt like I needed a change. Part of my motivation was a signature model – not that that should be the be all and end all of a company, but that was part of it, and I saw that with ESP I would at least have a chance to get to that point. Whereas Ibanez has so many great players in much bigger bands than me who don’t even have that on the horizon. I thought that if Oli Herbert from All That Remains doesn’t get one then I don’t think they’re going to give me one. Or Chris Broderick [Megadeth], who ended up leaving for Jackson.

 

But I love Ibanez guitars. They were always good to me, but ESP made some goals of mine happen, and that’s rad. Not to mention I was always a fan of those guitars too, so it was always an easy choice.

 

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NAMM 2012: new ESP models

Lots of cool stuff coming from ESP in 2012, including an entirely new Kirk Hammett signature model shape, ditto for Slayer’s Jeff Hannemann, a Michael Wilton (Queensryche) acoustic, killer sigs for Suicide Silence, Whitechapel and Unearth, and some wild new finishes.

Here are some highlights from ESPguitars.com:

Whitechapel sigs

Nearly everyone in the entire band Whitechapel got new LTD Signature Series models for 2012. The LTD AW-7 (Alex Wade) is a 7-string model based on the M Series, with a neck-thru-body design, alder body with flamed maple top with a Blood Red Sunburst finish. The guitar also features DiMarzio pickups and a fixed bridge with string-thru-body and locking tuners. The LTD BS-7 (Ben Savage) is a 7-string custom version of the MH Series guitar, with a neck-thru-body design, a See Thru Black finish on an alder body with flamed maple top, a teardrop-shaped headstock, maple fingerboard, EMG active pickups, Floyd Rose bridge, and locking tuners. Zach Householderʼs new signature model, the LTD ZH-7, is also a 7-string guitar based on the MH Series. It features a mahogany body with quilted maple top with a See Thru Black Satin finish, large block inlays, EMG active pickups, a Tonepros bridge, and locking tuners. Bassist Gabe Crisp also gets a signature model with the LTD GC-4, a customized Viper bass with neck-thru body design, a mahogany brown finish, ebony fingerboard and an EMG pickup set.

New Kirk Hammett models

Celebrating his 25th year as an ESP player, Metallicaʼs Kirk Hammett has three new models for you. The ESP KH-DC and LTD KH-DC are a brand new double-cutaway body style based on the Eclipse/EC, with a set neck design at 24.75” scale, and an attractive STBC (See Thru Black Cherry) finish on its flamed maple top. Like other EC models, the guitar offers a mahogany body and mahogany neck, with a rosewood fingerboard. The KH-DC features gold hardware, including gold-covered EMG 81 (bridge) and EMG 60 (neck) active pickups, and a Tonepros locking TOM bridge and tailpiece. The ESP version of the new Kirk Hammett model includes Sperzel locking tuners, while the LTD version offers ESP locking tuners.

The limited-edition LTD KH-25 has black distressed finish and graphics designed to emulate Kirkʼs famous KH-2 Vintage model. The KH-25 has bolt-on construction at 25.5″ scale, with a basswood body, maple neck, and a Floyd Rose Special bridge. The guitar also features ESPʼs new ALH-200 active pickups.

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REVIEW: LTD James Hetfield Snakebyte

Metallica‘s James Hetfield has used many different guitar models over the years, but during Metallica’s big commercial breakthrough era in the early 90s he had an ESP signature model based on the classic Explorer shape. This was a very popular axe at the time, but rumour has it that the owners of the Explorer design weren’t too happy, and ESP discontinued the model and tweaked its Explorer-type guitars into the more aggressive EX shape. Whatever the truth, pretty soon prices for the ESP and its similar models on the used market skyrocketed.

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REVIEW: ESP Gus G EC Eclipse

Man, I’m jealous of Gus G. Not only are Firewind awesome, but the dude has also been immortalised in the Eternal Descent graphic novel series. Oh and he replaced Zakk Wylde as Ozzy Osbourne’s guitarist. He appears on Ozzy’s latest album, Scream, which is easily the Prince Of Darkness’s best since No More Tears – and his high-tech shreddering combines the great 80s Euro metal tradition and a more modern sensibility. Gus has several ESP and LTD signature models to his name, including an aggressive Explorer/V hybrid that looks positively evil. The Gus G EC, by contrast, is a slightly – only slightly, mind you – more traditional axe.

This Japanese-made guitar (also available in an LTD model as the GUS-600EC with some slightly different specs – You can buy that model here at Musician’s Friend) is built with set-thru construction, which means the neck is glued in but then shaped to feel like a neck-thru for extra playing comfort. The body is mahogany with a hard rock maple top and white/black ply binding. The neck is three-piece maple (although you can’t see it since it’s finished in black gloss), with a rosewood fretboard and white binding. The carbon nut is 42mm standard, and the back of the neck is a thin U contour that seems to fit right into the webbing between thumb and index finger very comfortably. There are 22 extra jumbo frets, and the fretboard inlays are Firewind flames, which are well applied with only a minimum of epoxy filler around the tricky angles. The decal, which is applied only to the top is a cut a little roughly around the edges, but you wouldn’t notice from even a couple of feet away.

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